A beach ramp built as part of new sea defences is to be repaired after engineers found that it was damaged after being subjected to a greater force from the waves than the steps it replaced.
An urgent investigation was launched by Hartlepool Borough Council after two coping stones on the ramp opposite Vane Street on the Headland recently became dislodged.
Engineers have since been working closely with the contractor and relevant suppliers involved in the sea defences scheme to try to understand why the problem came about.
Kieran Bostock, the council’s transport and infrastructure manager, said: “Investigations have found that the orientation of the ramp means it is receiving a greater force than the steps it has replaced. This appears to have caused the coping stones to rotate and the fixings to fail.
“Work is now underway with the council’s engineers to re-design the ramp coping to enable it to withstand this force.
“The investigations and subsequent inspections indicate that this is the only ramp to be affected in this way, and new copings and railings will be installed in the spring when the weather is more favourable and a planning restriction on work being carried out on the foreshore during the winter is no longer in force.”
Weekly inspections of the ramp will be carried out until the new copings are installed. While it is acknowledged that further damage may occur on this ramp now that it is exposed, this will be picked up by the inspections, made safe and fully reinstated in the spring.
Mr Bostock added: “It is important to note that the sea defences scheme is not finished as work is still required to complete the sealant in between copings and panels. This work was postponed earlier this year as temperatures dropped as it requires suitable warm and dry conditions for the sealant to cure.
“The council took the decision to provide access to promenade over the winter whilst no physical works were being carried out, but this particular ramp will remain closed off until the required works have been carried out. We would ask members of the public not to use it.
We apologise for any inconvenience this causes and would like to thank people for their patience.”